Realise Performance | HR Consultants

Workforce Transformation

The COVID -19 pandemic has changed the world and more than any other event over the last decade demonstrated the importance for organisations to have a competent, reliable and flexible workforce.  Given Covid-19 and the shortage of workforce more generally, one cannot deny that the country is heading towards a workforce crisis.

What is becoming clearer as we move out of the pandemic is that our workforce is becoming more fragile, with large numbers of managers and employees alike opting to exit not only jobs but whole sectors rather than continuing to face the constant barrage of imposed change.

So, is there anything that organisations can do to turn this around and engage their workforce?

Well yes!  Establish a Workforce Transformation Strategy as part of their overall Strategic Plan.

Transforming your workforce leads to organisational reform and a new world of work for everyone.

Putting in place an agile workforce plan should be part of an organisation’s reform agenda.

Organisational reform will deliver value, agility and sustainability over time. By understanding workforce demands, analysing skills and capabilities needed for specific roles your organisation can develop people strategies that will support the bigger reform.  In organisations like aged care or disability services, where workforce represents the majority of the organisation’s costs, a Workforce Transformation Strategy can have a significant impact on long term organisational sustainability.

Providing a diverse and committed workforce takes planning, thought and commitment by management and the Board.

Your organisation can imbed a supportive workplace culture by encouraging people to build their capabilities through making full advantage of study leave and learning.  This creates an enthusiastic workplace culture, supports career opportunities and accepts that people can work towards achieving their career aspirations in a timely way that meets their lifestyle.

The future workforce will be one where leadership is valued, skills and competencies are known and become integral to good management.

Organisations in the future will need to be far more agile, flexible and versatile in managing individual and organisational performance as measures will be understood and will be integral to the organisation’s overall performance.

Firstly, transforming your HR practices to support your workforce strategy will also be the first steppingstone in implementing your Transformational Workforce Plan.  Priorities for Workforce Transformation should focus on people and cultural fit in:-

  • Recruitment practices, understanding the roles and responsibilities
  • Being proactive and consistent in ensuring workplace culture is part of the recruitment practices
  • Understanding roles and responsibilities as part of recruitment
  • Implementing a rigorous performance management and review programs
  • Create career pathway opportunities to retain and retrain staff
  • Support lifelong learning
  • Link training and development to the Workforce Plan
  • Delivering a sound employee life cycle experience that is people focused and supported by the HR function.

Creating career pathways for your employees will add to a positive workplace lifecycle for employees and provide opportunities for people to thrive, grow and contribute whilst enjoying the challenges of lifelong learning.

Human Resource support should use technology to support workforce strategies, not to replace people practices.

Resilient, enthusiastic employees are more likely to be retained and supportive of organisational change and deliver quality service to clients.

But a word on reality. Establishing an effective Workforce Transformation Strategy is not a quick fix. The whole of organisation needs to be committed to workforce reform as part of the bigger strategy. In the implementation there will be resistance. There will also be frustration, not only at management level but also at lower levels. Some individuals will rise to the challenge, and some will not rise up to challenge. The transformation process can be painful but well worth the effort in an ever changing world. Therefore, a Workforce Transformation Strategy requires commitment from the top to realise its full potential.

As we have seen during the COVID pandemic, business survival requires reacting to operational day to day practices quickly and with calm. Workforce reform is no different, it requires commitment, patients and management led consistency in application.

The new future for workforce will emerge over the next few years with workplace reform the biggest threat or the biggest saviour.

Chris Westacott is Managing Director, Realise Performance.

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Positioning your organisation to maximise its future

The fundamentals of success start with the right Board.

It goes without saying, the last couple of years have been very challenging for the aged care sector. A pandemic, mixed with chronic underfunding, serious workforce shortages, increased compliance obligations and a broader media agenda of negativity, have all had a significant impact.

So, what does the future hold? Well, more of the same unfortunately.

While it is easy to say it is all too hard, the reality is that the demand for aged care services is still there, still growing as we age and despite political indifference, the proper care of our elderly is fundamental to Australia’s future.

From our experience in the sector (which spans some 22 years), it’s all about taking control of our own destiny and making sure that organisations are well positioned to maximise their future.

This is not just about positioning to effectively overcome the challenges and obstacles, but also to capitalise on all the opportunities.

An important first step in realising these ambitions, is to establish a highly competent, high performing leadership team encompassing the Board and the executive leadership.

High performing organisations start with competent and highly skilled Boards whose skill mix and passion are aligned to not only the business and the sector more generally, but also whose members recognise that their personal reputation is directly linked to the success or otherwise of the organisations they lead.

High performing Boards who meet the criteria outlined above are also committed to ensuring that the right organisational structure is in place, that executive teams are made up of the right people, and that there is diligent oversight of the organisation’s performance to make sure that there is a culture based on sound values.

Further, they are committed to innovation. If aged care organisations continue as they have operated in the past, they will remain insular, ineffective and slow to adapt to change. These organisations are destined to fail, as the world has moved on from those earlier paradigms.

The Board’s role is to ensure that a competent executive team is in place and then oversee the development and implementation of the future strategy. The Board must also ensure that they have access to sufficient data and information to allow them to make rational, informed decisions to support the executive, aligned with the strategic direction. They must also ensure that there are appropriate measures in place to determine progress towards the achievement of this direction.

Developing a timeline for Board and executive renewal is a key strategy in ensuring organisational alignment to the future strategy. High performing Boards ensure that they have in place succession plans for Directors and executive teams and make sure that these plans are regularly modified to adapt to changing needs in skills, competencies and personal attributes, to enable the prosecution of the strategy.

Through balancing individual competencies, thinking styles and interpersonal skills, Boards can be far more effective, however it is also important to recognise diversity and inclusiveness at Board level, as this will encourage these attributes to flow throughout the organisation.

While all these factors seem obvious, from our experience the many organisations that are now faltering are in this position now because they have not acted on these fundamentals in the past.

What is needed is therefore a starting point and it is up to the Board to recognise that it needs to act and engage specialists to help them map the journey to success.

Chris Westacott is Managing Director, Realise Performance.

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